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Mekong-Japan Cooperation: Dawei & Thai high-speed train backed

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Thailand & Japan agreed on Saturday to develop Dawei special economic zone (SEZ) in Myanmar & two train lines in Thailand. Japan pledged 205 billion baht to Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam over next three years to spur region's development.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) smiles with Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha during a joint news conference on the sidelines of seventh Mekong-Japan Summit at the Akasaka State Guest House in Tokyo on Saturday. (Reuters photo)


Japan backs Dawei, Thai high-speed train

Bangkok Post and Kyodo News

Thailand and Japan agreed on Saturday to develop the Dawei special economic zone (SEZ) in Myanmar and two train lines in Thailand including a high-speed train linking Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The agreement was reached in talks between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on the sidelines of the seventh Japan-Mekong Summit meeting.


The largest of its kind in Southeast Asia, the Dawei project in southeastern Myanmar will include a deep-sea port with the capacity to hold 250 million tonnes of cargo; an economic zone that will cover more than 200 square kilometres; factories; a coal mine and power plant for electricity; and golf courses and five-star hotels for visiting executives.

Dawei is projected to become the major gateway for the Mekong region's trade with India, the Middle East and Africa, while linking Myanmar by road to Thailand, Cambodia and southern Vietnam.

"I’m convinced the signing of a memorandum of intent (MoI) on the Dawei Special Economic Zone will create an opportunity to strengthen the economic partnership between Japan and Asean and Japan and Thailand ahead of the launch of the Asean Economic Community (AEC)," Mr Abe said in a joint news conference with Gen Prayut after their meeting.

When completed, the 200-square-kilometre economic zone "will become a new distribution centre for the world", Gen Prayut said.

Under the Dawei agreement the three countries will hold equal shares in Dawei SEZ Development Co, which will operate the project. Dawei SEZ was established to manage the Dawei project and initially it was an equal partnership between Thailand and Myanmar.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with Myanmar President Thein Sein (L) and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after the signing ceremony for the Dawei development project in Tokyo on Saturday. (AFP Photo)


Gen Prayut said Thailand and Japan also agreed to embark on a high-speed rail route between Bangkok and Chiang Mai and the Red Line mass transit system in Bangkok...

But Tokyo stopped short of making a strong commitment on two more rail lines in which Thailand was hoping it would invest. They are a route from the Thai border with Myanmar in Kanchanaburi to Rayong and Aranyaprathet district in Sa Kaeo, and another line from Mukdahan to Mae Sot district in Tak.

The two countries "plan to develop" the two lines "in the future", the Thai statement said.

Thailand has decided 180 km/h is enough to meet its cargo needs between Bangkok and the Northeast. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)


The pledge for the Red Line could clear the way for the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to receive an additional loan of 38.2 billion yen (10.4 billion baht) from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

The Red route will run from Bang Sue to Rangsit. The railway agency needs more loans from Japan to finance the project with the Jica already being the main financial source.

Japan on Saturday also pledged a total of 99.85 billion yen (US$812 million) in yen-denominated low-interest loans to Myanmar to help develop infrastructure.

Of the total, 41.12 billion yen ($334 million) will go towards developing a national power transmission network, and 33.87 billion yen ($275 million) toward improving the Myanmar portion of the East-West Economic Corridor that connects the country with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam by road.

The remaining 24.87 billion yen is linked to a project to upgrade the circular railway line in Yangon. 

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (second left) delivers an opening speech at a roundtable as leaders of the Mekong countries including Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha (second right, back-facing camera) listen during the Mekong-Japan Summit Meeting at the state guest house in Tokyo on Saturday. (Reuters photo)


Mr Abe pledged in the summit fresh aid worth 750 billion yen (205 billion baht) in official development assistance to Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam over the next three years to spur the region's development....

Japanese investment in Thailand has increased recently. The number of Japanese companies investing in Thailand rose to 1,552 in June 2014 from 1,379 two years earlier.

...Under the New Tokyo Strategy 2015 for Mekong-Japan Cooperation, Abe and the Mekong region leaders agreed that the region has potential to be a "global growth center" given its strategic location next to major Asian markets such as China and India. 

Aside from supporting efforts of the 10-member Asean, which the five Mekong states are part of, to be more integrated economically, Japan's engagement in the resource-rich Mekong region is also seen as countering China's growing political and economic clout there.

...Abe and the five Mekong nations' leaders, in a document unveiling their new strategy for cooperation, "noted concerns expressed over the recent development in the South China Sea."

...According to the document, both sides said they will continue to uphold freedom of navigation and overflight and peaceful resolution of maritime disputes in line with international law.

...Japan hopes to distinguish its aid packages for infrastructure development in the Mekong region from that of China by promoting advanced Japanese technology and environmental-friendly know-how and capacity-building schemes....

...The new strategy is in line with Abe's investment initiative announced in May to provide US$110 billion to promote "quality infrastructure" in Asia over the next five years.

Most nations in the Mekong region lag behind in development, making it one of the priority areas ... of 2013, per capita gross domestic product was $2,073 in Vietnam, $1,628 in Laos, $1,103 in Myanmar and $1,018 in Cambodia, compared with $5,390 in Thailand. The average for Asean countries -- also comprising Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore -- is about $3,839...

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agency (noun): a government department that provides a particular service - หน่วยงานราชการ

aid : help; assistance - ความช่วยเหลือ

assistance : help; aid - ความช่วยเหลือ

capacity : the total amount or number that can be handled or contained - ปริมาณสูงสุดที่จะรับได้

cargo : things that are being sent by ship, plane, train or truck - สินค้าที่บรรทุกและจัดส่งโดยเรือ เครื่องบินหรือรถไฟ

clear the way for : created a situation where something could happen -

clout : the power to influence events - กลุ่มอิทธิพล

commitment : willing to give your time and energy to something that you believe in; a promise or firm decision to do something - การให้คำมั่นสัญญา, การให้คำมั่น, การมอบความไว้วางใจ

comprising : consisting of - ประกอบด้วย

concern : a worry - ความกังวล

connect : to join together two or more things - เชื่อมต่อ

convinced : certain; sure - แน่ใจ, มั่นใจ

cooperation : a situation in which people or organisations work together to achieve a result that will benefit all of them - การร่วมมือกัน

corridor (noun): a long narrow area along which something travels - เส้นทาง, ระเบียง,เฉลียง

counter : to go against - ต้าน, แย้ง

deep-sea port : a very deep port where big ships can park and load and unload goods -

denominated : using this money or currency to buy and sell with -

develop : to think of or produce a new idea, product, etc. and make it successful; to build new houses, factories, etc. on an area of land, especially land that was not being used effectively before - พัฒนา

development : the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc - การพัฒนา

dispute : a serious disagreement - ข้อโต้แย้ง

distinguish : to recognise the difference between two people or things - จำแนกความแตกต่าง, แยกแยะ

distribution : the process of giving something out to many different places - การแจกจ่าย

document : a piece of paper or a set of papers containing official information - เอกสาร

effort : an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม

embark on : to start a new project or activity, usually one that will be difficult and will take time - เริ่มดำเนินการสิ่งใหม่ (ที่ยาก)

engagement : being involved in something - การพัวพันอยู่กับ

environment (noun): the natural world including plants and animals, land, water, air, especially as it is affected by human activities - สิ่งแวดล้อม

equal : having the same number, score, etc. - เท่ากัน, เสมอ

establish : to start a company or organization that will likely continue for a long time - สถาปนา, ก่อตั้ง, จัดตั้ง

executive : a senior manager in a business or other organisation - ผู้บริหาร

finance : to provide money for something - จัดหาเงินทุนให้

financial : involving money - เกี่ยวกับเงิน, ทางการเงิน

freedom : being free to do what you want and go where you want - อิสรภาพ, เสรีภาพ

global : throughout the world - ทั่วโลก

growth (noun): economic growth, an increase in economic activity - การเติบโต

in line with : following a rule or system; also in accordance with and consistent with - สอดคล้องกับ

infrastructure : a set of systems within a place or organisation that affect how well it operates, e.g., the telephone and transport systems in a country or the system of train tracks that a railway uses - สาธารณูปโภค

initially : at first - ในเบื้องต้น

initiative : a new action or movement, often intended to solve a problem - ความคิดริเริ่ม

integrated : combining things of different types in one effective system - ที่รวมเข้าด้วยกัน

intent (noun): your plan or purpose - จุดประสงค์, เจตนา

international : connected with or involving two or more countries - นานาชาติ, สากล, ระหว่างประเทศ

invest : to spend money on something in order to make it better or more successful - ลงทุน

investment (noun): the act of investing money in something - การลงทุน

joint : done together; belonging to or shared between two or more people - ที่ร่วมกัน, ความร่วมมือกัน

know-how : knowledge; knowing how to do something - ความรู้และทักษะ; ความรู้หรือวิธีการ

launch : starting something - การเริ่มต้น

line (noun): a public transportation route that a bus or train travels along sending people from one place to another place -

link : to connect - เชื่อม

loan : an amount of money that a person, business, or country borrows, especially from a bank - เงินกู้

location : where someone or something is - ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล

major : very large or important - สำคัญมาก

maritime : connected with human activity at sea; near the sea or coast - ทางทะเล, เกี่ยวกับทะเล

mass transit : the system of moving large numbers of people around in a city, including buses, trains, subways, etc. - การขนส่งมวลชน

memorandum : an informal legal agreement - ข้อตกลง

mine : a deep hole or holes under the ground where minerals such as coal, gold, etc. are dug - เหมืองแร่

navigation : maritime navigation; the process of finding a path or direction to get somewhere การนำทาง -

network : a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย

news conference : press conference; an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it - การแถลงข่าว

official : done by people in authority or decided by the government; announced publicly - เป็นทางการ

on the sidelines : outside of a event, i.e., not an actual part of the event -

operate : to carry out a planned activity involving a lot of people to work in a particular way or from a particular place - ปฏิบัติ, ปฏิบัติงาน

opportunity (noun): a chance to do something, or a situation in which it is easy for you to do something - โอกาส

package : many goods or services sold together in one "package" -

partnership (noun): when a company owns and runs a business and shares profits, etc or with another company - หุ้นส่วน, ความร่วมมือ, ห้างหุ้นส่วน, ห้างหุ้นส่วนจำกัด

peaceful (adj): calm and quiet and not involving any violence - สงบ, ซึ่งมีระเบียบ, เงียบสงบ

plant : a factory; a factory that produces power or processes chemicals, etc. - โรงงาน

pledge : a serious promise - คำมั่้นสัญญา

portion : a part of something - ส่วน

potential : what is possible - ความเป็นไปได้

power (noun): energy from electricity - พลังงาน, พลังงานกล,พลัง, กำลัง, แรง

power : energy, from electricity or the human body, for example - พลังงาน, พลังงานกล,พลัง, กำลัง, แรง

project : a planned piece of work that is designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ

projected : calculated based on information already known - คาดคะเน, ประเมิน

railway : the whole transportation system of trains connecting stations along rail tracks - รางรถไฟ, ระบบทางรถไฟ

recent : happening or starting a short time ago - เร็วๆ นี้

recently (adverb): not long ago - เมื่อไม่นานมานี้, เมื่อเร็วๆ นี้

region : a large area of land or space, usually without exact limits or borders - ภูมิภาค, ขอบเขต, แถบ, บริเวณ

resolution : solving a problem, or to finding a satisfactory way of dealing with it - การแก้ไขปัญหา

resources : things such as water, coal, trees and oil that exist in nature and can be used by people - ทรัพยากร

route : the roads used to go from one place to another - เส้นทาง

route : the way that planes, buses, trains, or ships travel regularly - เส้นทางของรถ เรือ เครื่องบิน,etc.

scheme : a plan that is developed by a government or large organisation in order to provide a particular service for people - แผนการ โครงการ

share : any of the units of equal value into which a company is divided and sold to raise money. People who own shares receive part of the company's profits - หุ้น

sign : sign agreement, put your signature on an agreement; agree to do something in exchange for something such as money - เซ็นสัญญา

source : the place/person/organisation from which you get something - แหล่ง

spur : to cause something to happen - ก่อให้เกิด 

statement : something that you say or write that gives information or an opinion - แถลงการณ์, คำแถลง

stopped short of : did not do but almost did something ... that was a little, so they didn't do it 100% -

strategic : carefully planned in order to achieve a particular goal, especially in war, business, or politics - ทางยุทธศาสตร์

strategy : a plan or method for achieving something, especially over a long period of time - ยุทธวิธี, แผนการ  

summit : a meeting or a series of meetings between leaders of two or more countries - การประชุมสุดยอด

talks (noun): negotiations; when two sides that disagree get together and "talk" to reach some agreement - การเจรจา, การเจรจาต่อรอง

trade : the buying and selling of goods and services - การค้าขาย

transmission : the act or process of passing something from one place, person or thing to another - การส่งผ่าน,การส่งต่อ

unveil : to show or introduce a new plan, product, etc. to the public for the first time - เปิดเผย, ประกาศให้รู้ทั่วไป

upgrade : to make a project, a piece of machinery, computer system, etc. more powerful and efficient - ยกระดับ

uphold : to show that you support something such as an idea by what you say or do - สนับสนุน


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